Buy Reliable Power Meter "Or" Buy A Lightweight Frame (Limited Funds)

I currently have a Specialized Diverge E5 Comp. I was riding cross, but have been doing more road. The bike is 22lbs stock with Shimano Ultegra Pedles, stock 105 components. The bike has 48/32 crank, which leaves me looking for more top end while riding road.

I can do one of two things:
1: Buy a power meter (most likely Powertap P2’s), and upgrade the rings for road
2: Buy a lighter weight frame, transfer components, and upgrade rings for road

I only have around $1000-$1200 budget.

Upgrading your motor (ie. fitness) is the best upgrade you can make. And a power meter is the best way of achieving this (depending on how much indoor v outdoor riding you do).

As I recall, the Diverge comes with Praxis cranks. And I think that Praxis offer cranks with a 4iiii PM installed. My suggestion would be to get some road-sized Praxis cranks with PM, and you could still switch the left PM crank back to the sub-compacts when you ride cross. From their website, you could get these for $530.

The other area you may want to look at for upgrading is wheels. A good set of wheels will allow you to switch between road slicks and cross tires easily. And that will save you at least part of the Diverge weight, which is in the chunkier tires.


Imo a $1200 bike won’t be much lighter and you’d get a lot more value from your investment with a powermeter.


I’d go 100% for the power meter. There is no greater upgrade I’ve ever made to my bike.


Also to add, unless you are going downhill a lot, 48t should be plenty on the road, i have done plenty of crits with a 46t chainring and never run out of gearing. If you are try increasing your comfortable cadence to get the extra speed on the rare occasion you need it

And definitely get the power meter!

Get a power meter. With a power meter, you can also get a dumb fluid trainer to use with TrainerRoad. That’s what I did, I paid $300 + shipping for a 4iiii crankarm-based power meter and $215 for my Elite Volano trainer. As the others have said, the best upgrade is an upgrade for your twin engine.

Also, regarding gearing, I find it hard to believe that you really run out of gears that often. I have a compact crank, and even when we ride in a pack at 35-40 km/h (i. e. when we really give it the beans on the flats), I am usually not in the highest gear as I opt for a higher cadence. With a cadence of 90, you will exceed 50 km/h with a 48:11. With 46:11 or 50:12 you will still do 48 km/h. I usually run out of gears on straight downhill sections, of which there are only very few peppered into my rides. I’d leave your gearing as it is, provided you are happy with the low-end.

Frame is really the worst place for an upgrade. Expensive but not very effective. When upgrading components you may want to look into a new wheelset.

I would recommend the powermeter option as well. However, you may want to reconsider the P2s. My team had been sponsored by the local Powertap distributor. And we’ve had so much trouble with the P1s. And the trouble seems to continue with the P2s. The pedals simply die after a while. As long as you have warranty (not an issue for us) it’s not an issue but it’s still a hassle.

I know quite a few people riding happily these. If I was in the market for a pedal based pm I’d get the Favero Assioma.

On gearing: I race mainly MTB, however, a few important races are on the road. Compact crank is definitely a limiter for me there, however, I’m to lazy to swap. I just top out every once in a while. Furthermore, I often top out in training when I exit longish, slightly descending mountain valleys (I live in the Alps). I often wonder if I should move up with chainrings. However, in the end you will know best if your gearing is adequate for your terrain and riding style.

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I have owned P1’s for over a year, had problems in first week but was sent new caps and they have been faultless ever since…that is over 12000km!! Very happy!

Get a power meter, keep your TR subscription. Train like an animal for 4-6 months then get a lighter frame then start kicking some arse. That’s that simple :slight_smile:

joke a side, power meter will help you to improve big time.

Good luck

Regarding gearing, keep in mind that with larger chain rings you shift all gears upwards. That may force you to downshift into the small chain ring earlier and have fewer closely spaced gears on the flats. You may also have to get a larger rear cassette to maintain the smallest gear (34:28 = 39:32), which will have fewer closely spaced gears.

That may not be relevant to how you ride, because perhaps you mostly climb and descend. But it is worth taking into consideration.

Thank you all for the advice. I’m going to go for a power meter, and chain rings and cassette.


Power meter (I also just got 4iiii for $300, ultegra 6800, but wish I’d bought the Specialized 4iiii version for $400 when it was on sale at Amain a couple weeks back) and spend the remaining money on a training camp.

A training camp for a few days or a week or two for a few days, will do more for fitness than wheels, aero helmet, or waxing a chain or anything else I can think of.

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I was in a similar situation as you 3 years ago, except for me it was 1) power meter, or b) wheelset. Now that’s a tough choice.

Eventually (later) I did manage to get the wheelset but at the time I decided on the PM. Funny because for a few weeks I thought it was an impulse buy and almost returned it. After I really committed to learning how to train with power I have to say it was the best decision.

You won’t regret it.

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Those decisions, sounds familiar :slight_smile:

Years ago I had to decide between a fat bike and a first gen Kickr. Went with the Kickr. Best, best, best decision ever. Really transformed my training and race results. I attribute my (modest) race results (still teasing the young ones) with the following “life decisions”:

  1. got a Kickr (now a Neo 2) and actually enjoy sitting there in my basement
  2. got a powermeter and learned how to use it (took me 2 or 3 race seasons)
  3. started working 100% home office :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I agree, I have a 46t on my cross bike which at the moment is also my road bike (just sold my road bike and I am saving my pennies for a new Allez Sprint) and I almost never run out of gears, granted I ride on the seacoast of New Hampshire where not a lot of descending happens…

I agree with the consensus, go for the PM. If you are looking for pure speed on a bike on a budget than it’s hard to do much better than the Allez Sprint, and that’s going to run you $1900 for the rim brake version and $2200 for the disc brake version. The bike I just sold was not at all a racing machine. It was an endurance frame with crap wheels but thanks to my PM, my kinetic fluid “dumb” trainer and TR I can’t tell you how many $8k+ bikes I have dropped. There is no better upgrade than the engine!

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I also own P1s and they have been excellent. That being said, if I didn’t need to swap between bikes I would go for the 4iiii or Stages left crank arm option. I’m about to buy an Allez Sprint with Praxis cranks and if my P1s every stop working (knock on wood) I’ll be going for the 4iiii/Praxis option.

Definitely powermeter. I have Favero Assiomas and they have been outstanding. Also, way cheaper than Garmin. On my MTB I went with Power2Max NGEco (since no pedal based MTB meters exist). Also excellent. Also cheaper than Garmin.

I’d go power meter. Check these out, just ordered a set myself. $410 for single sided or $640 for dual, and you can easily change between bikes.

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Do both, get the power meter and lose a pound of body fat.

I picked up a set of new one sided powertap P1 for around 250 or so earlier in the fall… Do some searching you might find a sale.